Jeep JKU Cold Air Intakes (makes/models/performace) worth it?

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3.6L.... is a CAI worth the minimal gain?

  • Yes (throttle response, hwy mpg, better towing performance)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

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Rank IV

Advocate III

Kaiserslautern, Germany
Member #



I had a CAI on my 09 JKU with the 3.8L... it really made a world of difference in the throttle response alone, much less the maybe 1-2 mpg I might've gained.

This question is solely in regards to the 3.6L with towing my trailer/camping gear/and RTT... as well as general throttle response in having a small lift and 35's.

Lemme know what you think!


Rank V

Advocate II

Member #


Take this for what it's worth, and with a grain of salt.

I used to work in a high end, high performance car shop. We worked on and tuned everything from Subaru STI's to Jeeps, from VW to Twin Turbo Lamborghinis, Porsche to GTR.

I have found that intakes aren't normally worth the money for most people UNLESS you are planning more performance upgrades and NEED WAY more airflow. For example going to a larger turbo setup or installing a supercharger etc. Keep in mind with this, we would be talking larger diameter tubing, etc which is NOT plug and play and would need tuning of the MAF etc. When we dyno tested just intakes, about 70% of the time the cars lost power. Add to that the need to make sure the filters are taken care of, oiled if necessary etc, I just don't think they're worth it.

I believe the loss in power was due to design flaws 80% of the time, and cheaply sourced parts 20%. Thats my SWAG at least. Most stock intakes are designed for optimal flow and have a lot of R&D money behind them. A lot of aftermarket is pipe welded together with a cone filter on the end. Now I AM NOT SAYING THERE ARENT GOOD ONES OUT THERE. But, the power of persuasion, and the Butt Dyno, can make one feel like their mod does change a lot. Obviously MPG can be calculated but power, I am always skeptical on until I see and B&A dyno. This is due to my experience at the shop.

The other thing I saw a lot were old worn, neglected filters with holes, dry, etc. This can become a huge EXPENSIVE problem ESPECIALLY for off roading where dust is an issue.

So for me they just aren't worth the risk. YMMV, but thats just my take from my years in working on high performance cars and trucks.

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